Integrated Wisdom

Birds of a Feather or Opposites Attract?

Notwithstanding the rare exceptions of success, the belief that opposites attract is wrong-headed. At first, our Pollyanna and black sheep won’t feel stressed by their differences, because, well, they’re thinking with their love brains. They might find their dissimilarities to be interesting, refreshing, or exciting. However, as they become acclimated to each other and the passion subsides, their differences become more apparent and obstructive. At some point they’re likely to feel they haven’t got much in common.


Research on couples is pretty clear that similarities give a relationship staying power. We’re more comfortable with someone who has the same values and beliefs, religion, ethnic background, and education. When you and your partner share these characteristics, you eliminate them as potential sources of conflict. You also have an easier time communicating about many topics because you can relate to each other’s point of view. We may not be aware of how important this is while we’re head over heels in love, but be assured it will matter down the road.

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